4th QTR push. . .

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Upside down ~ does it really matter. Weird, but fall is a season that I feel in Arizona. Spring is easy to spot because of the wildflowers, but too quickly it heats up and gets lost in summer. Winter, ha, ours is the best. But fall represents change, and change is difficult. In January, Diane and I made a mutual commitment to help each other stay on track, continuing to work on our goals throughout the year. We did fabulous until spring arrived, and then it was the summer; total disaster. I've been obsessed with canvas art for the Briar Patch, she traveled on and off. Donna Downey's IW2016 was one of the first things to go for both of us.

I've got a canvas in the works, but yesterday I just wasn't into it. Instead, I pulled out my IW2016 art journal, fired up the next video and vowed to get at least that one done before the day ended. You wouldn't know this, but my pages look nothing like the original which is a study in black and white. Steeped in the process, I realized the greatest problem I was having with IW2016 was this week where I was ambivalent to the art. I didn't like it. 

I didn't want to omit the page from the group, but I wasn't having any "graphite powder" floating around my room . I didn't have the leaf stencil and I didn't want it. I could change my mind about this. Didn't have the absorbent ground. In the scheme of yesterday that means nothing. It just meant searching for alternatives~something Diane and I are committed to, using up our stash.  I used gesso, charcoal stick and then turned to paint. I tainted the black and white with a little Golden green-gold acrylic. The red is Finnabair's Royal Red. 

I kinda like it. Just getting it done is a signal to move on. I'm writing about this because in art, as in life we tend to hang up on the small stuff; can't accept,won't do those things that are just a part of the process. You don't have to like it, but you need to do it. The "doing" is  just a hurdle that propels you to the finish line.  Commitment!


Interesting ways to break the casual artist habit

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Struggle - some pieces come together in a heart beat, this was a labor of love.  I set it aside in plain view. . .I'd wander by it, make an adjustment, add a little of this or that. In the end it was an aluminum word from the 90's that I painted green and embossed with detail clear powder that made the difference. I love it.
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Used molding paste and embossing powder on the numbers - anchor of this piece.
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100 percent Finnabair inspired piece that harkened back to the first pieces I made in 2014. It's a WIP.

On a roll and this is where it all happens

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I am a casual artist. Going to classes, being temporarily inspired by someone else's ideas, adapting and expanding them. Reading up on new products, searching them out and giving them a try, again adapting them to what I do, and expanding on what others said they could do. All that has changed. I have a date - November 12th and November 13th at the Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale. I'm sticking to my original goal, 100 pieces ~ one of a kind art for a budget. . .ENJOY!


About this summer. . .

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090516---Dev

 Dev on the first day of school. . .love the new Vans.

 

Ted left for the mountains of California at the end of May. He had three weeks to pull camp together before heading to Sacramento and a plane that would carry him to Alabama. He landed in Nashville after midnight. Just so happened that this was the evening that the original Fast and Furious was playing a special engagement at the Grand Ole Opry Cinemas; a movie, breakfast for dinner at the Cracker Barrel and a short drive to "BNA" ~ Nashville Airport. It worked for us.

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There were some tense days leading up to Jen's wedding, but it came together. Weddings are a lot of work. She and Quincy were married June 25th. It was a celebration. We enjoyed brief family time afterward at Joe Wheeler State Park. Two days later Ted, Erin, Dev and I were in the car driving back to Chandler. The drive in both directions was actually fun. The honest truth is I love the south; I can see a future with Ted and I spending time at home in Arizona and on the road exploring the treasures of the South. Our's is a wonderful country.

We got home on a Tuesday, and the following Friday , the first day of July Ted was back on a plane to Sacramento and the mountains. He is still in the mountains, although I'm thinking he'll be home within the next week.  I'm just waiting for him to fire-up that piece of junk flip phone to call and say "I'm on my way".  In the meantime I'm hoping that his brother Tim made it to the river this weekend for a short stay.

I've enjoyed a fantastic artful journey this past 60 days. I was blessed because friend Dana made the drive to California for a Finnabair class. We met for dinner when she got back, and listening to her talk about what she had learned was so exciting. I came home and tore apart the piece I was working on and applied tiny changes  a'la Finnabair. Nothing hugely different, and yet . . . .

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I'm really looking forward to the fall. The goal is to produce as many pieces as possible to sell at Cornerstone's Believe Boutique. I have until the first weekend in November to get ready. Kim Heinz and I are gearing up.

Every summer has it's own vibe. Sadly there is a cloud hanging over this summer. On August 22nd, Ted lost his dearest friend Dennis Vella to heart failure. There were three weeks of tension that lead up to his death. I feel like I could write a book, but the reality is that when our time is up, it's up. Would that it wasn't so, but it is. I've been really slow at embracing life this past two weeks, but I'm looking at tomorrow as the start of something great.  It will be even better with Ted here. Scrapin' the swimming for walking soon, love feeling chilled in the AM when I let the dogs out, lots of events on the calendars, plays, retreats, classes. It's time to ENJOY.

 


On the Riviera. . .

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Last week Ted made his getaway to California's Sierras. He'd have gone sooner, but the weather wasn't cooperating. I've spoken with him a lot since his arrival on the ridge. The big to-do this year was redoing the road. For those of you who have traveled down that road, you know what I'm talking' about, and for those of you who haven't OMG ~ scary! 

 

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At home I waiver between excited and overwhelmed as we head into the final weeks before Jen's wedding. I have 7 more of these to make.  Erin and I hit Hobby Lobby and Michaels in search of paper and candle holders. We found this blue paper at Michaels. Must have been a hit with everyone; not a lot left. I placed the ball on top of the vintage candle holder found at Marketplace 42. Just need to add a bit of ribbon - it's a winner.

JEN DISNEYLAND 2005 PS 150

At the same time, I cleaned up some old photos for Qunicy's mom, Annette. Those photos from the 70's are problematic. Almost wish we'd have used black and white. Old stuff from Mom was a lot easier to deal with.

Still working to catch up on IW2016 (Donna Downey). Diane and I are doing this as a part of our 2016 word commitment. I'm still in April. This is one of the few online events that I like. Most of them loose my interest, but this one is a challenge with no rules and a ton of inspiration. 

I've had a whole week to settle into summer. Still haven't hit the pool, although today looks like the day. We've had heat warnings the past two days, but our overnight low is still 70 degrees. It's the overnight temps that separate us from the rest of the world and keep it hot in the desert. We've been blessed this year. That still doesn't make mowing the lawn, picking up after the dogs and the cat any more appealing. Must remember to look on the bright side of life.

ENJOY!


27 weeks

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Returning from the abyss - long needed time to organize my studio space. 

In six months I've moved my stuff from the master bedroom to my old studio space, and then again to the room next door over the prospect of better light. With each move I always left something behind, little crumbs reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel. Had I the crackerjack memory  of my 20's this might have been okay, but in today's world, it was chaotic. I was forever forgetting where I'd put that one little thing that was going to make a piece great. Obsessed with finding it, I'd spend hours pawing through one drawer, then another, often coming up empty. This meant a trip to the store where I would buy something I new I had, but couldn't find. Then damn if I didn't find it several weeks later, after already buying another. Not just chaotic and frustrating, this process was actually expensive.

I mentioned this to friends, and my friend Kim suggested Scrapbook Organization 101 found on the online Scrapbook.com.

Love this class; perhaps more than any other online class I've done. 

The class consists of 27 lessons, designed to be done over 27 weeks. I was looking for speedy gratification and 27 weeks was too much time. I read the class introduction several times that laid out the program, and shuddered when instructor Jill said that organization took her six months. Then I moved on to the table of contents, quickly realizing that at least one-third of the topics didn't apply to my space or circumstance. 

I didn't do the chronological thing. Instead I went through my space and prioritized what needed to be done on the basis of what bugged me the most. I was all over the table of contents, tapping into a lesson as I reached it on my list. This worked great for me. I started with the closet, which actually meant organization of the stuff I'd left behind in what is now the guest room. I looked into different ways to store things and ended up buying matching totes  and the best ever small item storage from Harbor Freight. Doing this eliminated 6 large jewelry containers. My new condensed storage keeps like items together, and takes up a fraction of the space.

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It took 3 weeks to get m space together. There was so much to clear out. I have a huge "Sell" pile. . .something else to tackle in the near future. I didn't back-off of any labor intensive suggestion to organize if I could see the benefit of it in my room. My flowers are now kept in cello bags, by size and color. All my mixed media metal is contained in two of the Harbor Freight Utility boxes. My 12X12 card stock is in a stacking unit using the ROY G BIV color system. I didn't go this far with the 8X10, however it is now in the closet and easy to see. My sprays are together, the paint is together, all the mixed media supplies, adhesive, my planner stuff, my art journals. . .everything in its place. 

Bottom line - this class is brilliant, something I know I will return to from time to time as I work to keep my studio efficient and fun. Check it out and ENJOY!

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The Bird

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Part of my two canvas challenge, which by the way is still going on. Isn't it always the case - this canvas has been like pulling teeth, while the first one fell together on it's own. Easter Sunday was a day of mad cooking, which translated into less art time. Nonetheless, while things cooked and chilled, I returned to to the studio to try just one more thing to make this bird right. What effort, as I fought to keep it going; I'd have been okay with tossing it into the round file, or better yet walking it out to the trash can. 

I create these birds out of grunge board, alcohol ink and gel medium. I need to expand my color of ink. This bird got so dark. It was an eyesore on the canvas. When all else fails, reach for the gesso right? Painting with my fingers, I began to add thin layers of paint. I liked the distressed look I got, but still no bueno for the bird. Eventually, I reached for a word stamp, and voila, I loved the bird. 

Moving on, I need to finish up the flowers, the frame and it's done. Oh, and I need to had fine glitter to spread the magic.

. . .and as to the cooking, Eggs Benedict and asparagus in the AM, homemade macaroni salad (Mom's recipe - just the best) and hamburgers for dinner, and for dessert chocolate mousse. OMG what chocolate goodness. I make art and I can cook :)  

ENJOY!


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Just stopped a moment to make coffee - in that short time thinking about mindset, Henry Ford, linear, multiples, all relating to the ability to multi-task. The question is, can I work on more than one piece at a time. The linear me freaks out, but I need let go the fear and jump on in. That's what this is all about. I have a couple of canvas projects that I love,  both 11X14. Yesterday I decided to scale them down to 8X10. I'm doing both at once. Like how my dry time is spent alternating between the two, which means less useless computer time.

Both pieces are mixed media - each different. For one I created a skin using the designs of Crafty Button (Scrapbookgraphics). My plan is to find a small quote to tie this piece together. The second is my traditional idea of mixed media that will feature a variety of metal, flower and paper elements with a lot of spray and paint. 

The goal is to end today with two (not one) completed pieces. 

Later I'll be gearing up for the Tucson retreat next week, working on the elements for an 8X8 Halloween book. That's a whole other issue - getting behind a holiday that is months and months away. It's all about time management and growing!

Exciting stuff in studio - ENJOY!


On retirement. . .

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Okay - this is so perfect for my upcoming week. It's been roughly a year since having the last surgery relating to diverticular disease. I've settled in to the long term effects on my body; "things" can be a bit inconvenient, but putting distance between myself and the events I'm not being melodramatic when I consider the alternatives. From the get-go, the surgeon was telling me that after a year I needed to do another colonoscopy. It's taken me two years to schedule an appointment with the gastroenterologist. We had an extensive talk about what went wrong in 2014. He talked me into having the scope, and smart man that he is, didn't give me much time to think about it. This is the week and I can't wait for it to be over with.

Aside from the health problems of growing old, seven months into retirement, I've been thinking about the way I squander time. I know I'm not the only one struggling with this. My friend Sherry Bamsey is recently retired. I ran into her on Friday, and she made reference to good days and bad days. Days where she felt super productive versus those where she could stay in bed and read all day. I can commiserate with her; I know exactly what she means. 

I have done things in retirement that I would never have done before - travel, retreats, trips to museums, a constant stream of stage productions, all kinds of DIY art. But nestled in between those unforgettable days are those that rival Ray Milland's "Lost Weekend", minus the toxic level of alcohol. I wake up after having one of those days wondering "what the heck just happened"? I just read an Evolver Social Movement post that said "there are no wrong turns" in life. I believe this. When I think of 50 years of work, when the work is over there has to be some period of adjustment.

Now I'm thinking in my own particular case that my lassie-faire approach to time management needs to be reigned in. Today I've set aside for "home and hearth", meaning it's about time to clean and grocery shop. If I don't have a list, or itinerary, it's guaranteed that I'll squander my time as in my obsession with Minecraft. To begin with, I'm going to limit my use of my "Get To Work" planner as a random hap-hazard life journal. Each day will be assigned a specific task, and in deference to my simple word "commitment", I will make it happen. I'm not suggesting that I won't make room for the unexpected; what I'm thinking is that a list will define my day and limit the chaos that comes with an open-ended option to fill the day. Perfect example is my to do list for the fall craft fair. There are dozens of projects I'd like to tackle, but in the process of deciding what to do at any given time, I find myself parked in front of the computer, doing nothing, while I try to make up my mind. Advance planning should prevent the old John Madden syndrome, paralysis from analysis. Nothing to think about, just something to do.

Task oriented, I'm excited about this epiphany, this turn of life that will make it easier to ENJOY!

 


Freedom

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The view from my NEW car, as I waited for Erin ~ on our way to the airport ~ the beginning of her week long stay in Alabama with Jen and Quincy.

Productive, overwhelmed, relieved. . .that sums up this week. I have had the additional baby book pages that I owed Danielle on my to do list since last November. Running things down to the wire, I started this week knowing that I had to have those pages done by Thursday evening. I had a great time finishing those pages, but OMG "time consuming". Last night at 8PM I was spritzing cream colored bias tape to make this ribbon, hot pink, yellow and orange. I got this done, thinking about how they would tie into the mostly finished book that Danielle has and realized I am still a page short. The tail end of this book has been a logistic boondoggle. 

The last page was altered - did a mini within a mini, that has to be one of the best I've ever done. I pulled paper from my stash and broke into a paper pad by Craft Smith, purchased at Michaels. I've never heard of this company before, but their paper works perfect with my Cameo. On top of that, the print and color is just beautiful. So tired last night (i.e. Taco Bell at 9PM for dinner; poor Ted), I didn't take a picture. I'll just have to do another!

Today I is "Tag Class" with Dana. So look forward to these days. Once that is done, I'm back to freedom of schedule; that is if you don't count the retreats and fun stuff planned with friends. Diane and I are taking our cameras to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens on Monday. Can hardly wait. Changing out the lens for close ups. We've done a bunch of stage productions. This week was "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder". Have to say, that this production was the most professional, well sung, well staged that I have seen at Gammage. The story was fun, and the voices of the players  inspired goose bumps. 

Several weeks ago we ventured to Mesa Community Theater to see "Spamalot". This Monty Python spoof didn't disappoint. I like our local theater. For the most part they do a really good job. I'm always amazed . . .I think about being on stage, really putting myself out there and freeze. Kudos to those who love to entertain us.

What does Freedom look like in the coming weeks. Lots and lots of art, with some much needed house cleaning thrown into the mix. I also have to factor in my walk. I do this three times a week. I've signed back up with the gym using the Silver Sneakers program; this means water aerobics thrown into the mix.  I need to catch up with two weeks of Inspiration Wednesday. I need to do a couple of pages in the Bible Journal and it would be good to experiment in my art journal. Recently, I invested in both of Dina Wakeley's Art Journal books. They've been lying about, untouched, but I'm dying to get at them.  One of the more illuminating things about this week, was the realization that I need to plan out by time; come up with an art production schedule and stick to it.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing my style of scrapbook; it's unique. I've been collecting tidbits for Halloween and Christmas; and then there are the baby books. Every time I reach the end of one, I realize just how special they are. I think they're great for a new mom, but imagine the child looking at them when they're 30 or 40 years old. They're a substrate, they're a treasure. 

I'd also like to keep up with the blog on a more regular basis. Most of all, no matter what I do, I want to ENJOY!

 


In progress. . .

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Working to get the last 6 layouts of "Ella's" baby book finished so that Erin can take the pages with her to Alabama next week. These two pages are part of a four page layout about the siblings.  The last layout will be for Ella. For those who love paper arts as much as I do, here are a few of the things that went on behind the scenes.

Most important, I took a step back to Donna Downey's canvas book class, where she encouraged us to put our collage element together before it went on the page. This is a much better way to ensure that you like the assemblage, without going through the stress of creating on the fly. I used my TH Tiny Attacher to hold all the elements together ~ added texture. 

I used the Cameo for the die cuts. The soccer ball was a no brainer silhouette file, but the cuts on Ava's page are elements from digital scrapbook kits that I brought into the Cameo and converted to a print and cut file.

If I had to choose one die that I couldn't live without, it would have to be the TH Tattered Florals. I love this die, and it manages to find it's way into so much of what I do. Wandering through Sam's club, I decided to buy deli paper. Again, something that I have many uses for. I wadded up a couple of sheets, then used the Tattered Florals die to cut the flowers that I put together on these pages. Along with flowers I cut using Glassine paper, these new light and airy flowers get a thumbs up.

Also. . .love the little tiny hardware I picked up at Emmett's in Plano. We'll be driving that way for Jen's wedding and I'll be making another stop. When cost is an issue, a stroll through a hardware store makes a ton of sense. . .and it's fun, it's a joyride.

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I've also been working on a variety of mixed media pieces. Working through the hundred  pieces, I plan on pushing myself to use new supplies, new techniques. Color is a big issue. Most of us are comfortable with a color palette that pleases us on a personal level. I am forcing myself to work in "other colors" knowing that when I take these pieces to market I should be appealing to a broader clientele. This piece is a qualifier as different than my norm, but I like it. I have the outside edges to complete,  a few tweaks to the canvas itself and it will be done. I need to up my game if I plan on hitting the inventory numbers I have in mind. I am still loving the effects of Ranger Archival Ink and Embossing Powder, thank you Wendy Vecchi. How's that for some random thoughts.

As for life in general. . .busy, busy, busy ~ to the point where there are times that it is difficult to squeeze in studio time. Counting on the summer to change this. Ted is making fantastic progress with both knees. He plans on making it into the mountains mid-May. Jen is working on the wedding. I find myself a bit panicked when out of the blue I think of another thing that needs to get done.  My memory has been a little iffy. I have a planner, I have lists and I still forget stuff. As mentioned Erin is traveling to Alabama. A good portion of her trip will be to help Jen with wedding details. At home, Erin is working on end of year projects that seem to take over as the school year winds down. In April she is going to San Francisco for a STEM convention and I'm tagging along. Friends Dana, Kim and I have several retreats on the calendar. I am becoming a fan; once I figure out what to take, I'm actually getting stuff done. 

My hope is always to do more with the blog. You'd think my posts would be more regular. I didn't realize how long it would take to get comfortable with retirement. I love it, but I'm a bit chaotic. As I am, my wish for other is ENJOY!